Philippines SEC to Regulate ICOs

ICO News, News, Regulation | November 23, 2017 By:

The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is looking to come up with regulations and guidelines on initial coin offerings (ICO) and cryptocurrency exchanges.

SEC Commissioner Emilio Aquino said the commission had no rules governing ICOs but it could apply other jurisdictions that consider them as securities.

“The direction is for us to consider this so-called virtual currencies offerings as possible securities in which case we will apply the Securities Regulation Code,” Aquino said “That’s the direction we’re taking, basing on the present regulations passed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, our other counterparts in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand.”

Aquino also revealed that the commission is currently in talks with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country’s central bank, with regard to cryptocurrencies. He said that some companies have already been registered and endorsed by the central bank but these are limited only to money services businesses to address remittances being done by overseas Filipino workers to bring down the cost.

BSP currently regulates two bitcoin exchanges operating in the country, following the issuance of Circular 944 which required the bitcoin exchanges to be under their watch. BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said that the only thing that the BSP had allowed so far was for these firms to operate as the equivalent of money changers.

“At the BSP, we have an open-minded approach to FinTech. This means that we take a very active role in ensuring that our policies provide opportunities for innovation,” Espenilla Jr. said. Today, there are two virtual currency exchangers registered with the BSP and several more are under evaluation.”

The comments follows the recent delisting of agricultural firm Calata Corp. from the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) over multiple disclosure violations. Calata now plans to shift to a cryptocurrency exchange where the firm would issue digital tokens to its shareholders that would be called “Calcoins.”